City leader says vacant downtown Albany buildings may see 'tax - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City leader says vacant downtown Albany buildings may see new 'tax'

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

One city leader says a tax on empty buildings in downtown Albany could spark the area's economic growth and help revitalization efforts.

Commissioner BJ Fletcher made a suggestion of a vacancy tax during Tuesday's city commission meeting while the downtown manager was giving his assessment of available retail space.

Planners say 35 empty storefronts throughout the 12 downtown blocks could become thriving businesses. But the majority of the spaces need major work before they can be leased to potential companies.

Leaders say some property owners are holding out for offers from large businesses and are reluctant to make building improvements or lease them to other companies.

"We've got a downtown manager that says his biggest challenge is to get landlords motivated," Said Commissioner Fletcher, who operates the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Albany. "Well, I'm gonna put [something] in front of this commission to get them motivated by creating a vacancy tax. And as long as that building stays empty, there will be a tax created on that building."

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